Dayle De’souza v. Government of India

Minimum Wages Act, 1948Section 22C – Offences by companies – The proviso being an exception cannot be made a justification or a ground to launch and initiate prosecution without the satisfaction of conditions under sub-section (1) of Section 22C of the Act. The proviso that places the onus to prove the exception on the accused, does not reverse the onus under the main provision, namely Section 22C(1) of the Act, which remains on the prosecution and not on the person being prosecuted.

Minimum Wages Act, 1948Section 22C – Offences by companies – Vicarious liability is attracted when the offence is committed with the consent, connivance, or is attributable to the neglect on the part of a director, manager, secretary, or other officer of the company.

Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 – It is the court’s duty not to issue summons in a mechanical and routine manner. If done so, the entire purpose of laying down a detailed procedure under Chapter XV of the 1973 Code gets frustrated. Under the proviso (a) to Section 200 of the 1973 Code, there may lie an exemption from recording pre-summoning evidence when a private complaint is filed by a public servant in discharge of his official duties; however, it is the duty of the Magistrate to apply his mind to see whether on the basis of the allegations made and the evidence, a prima facie case for taking cognizance and summoning the accused is made out or not.

Criminal Law – A company being a juristic person cannot be imprisoned, but it can be subjected to a fine, which in itself is a punishment. Every punishment has adverse consequences, and therefore, prosecution of the company is mandatory. The exception would possibly be when the company itself has ceased to exist or cannot be prosecuted due to a statutory bar.